Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life is the day you were born and the day you find out why.” Finding out why ultimately leads to discovering the truth about who we are. It’s this truth that frees us. It’s our master blueprint. And when Jesus came, He not only accurately showed us the truth about God, but also this truth about ourselves.
I like how the Mirror Translation brings this out in the following verse:
1:18 Until this moment God remained invisible to man; now the authentic begotten, the blueprint of man’s design who represents the innermost being of God, the son who is in the bosom of the father, brings him into full view! He is the official authority qualified to announce God! He is our guide who accurately declares and interprets the invisible God in us. (John 1:18 MIRROR *)
This is why Jesus is not only the “way” to entering into God’s life, He’s also the Truth about God and about us (John 14:6).
I wrote more about this in my post, “Our True Identity Revealed,” but I only bring it up here to make another point. How do we help someone come to the truth? Especially, if they’ve wandered from it. This, of course, assumes you already know the truth about yourself in Christ (see “The Spiritual Orphan Mindset“). If we don’t have a healthy understanding of our own identity, we’ll only project our unhealed wounds on other people in the the name of Christ.
Here’s what Paul said about helping others find the truth:
23 Stay away from all the foolish arguments of the immature, for these disputes will only generate more conflict. 24 For a true servant of our Lord Jesus will not be argumentative but gentle toward all and skilled in helping others see the truth, having great patience toward the immature. 25 Then with meekness you’ll be able to carefully enlighten those who argue with you so they can see God’s gracious gift of repentance and be brought to the truth. (2 Tim.2:23-25 TPT*)
First, it seems Paul is living in our time! Our culture has never been so argumentative and divided. Part of the blame goes to the media that profits by keeping us angry and divided; Google makes us think we know something, and social media creates an environment where opinions and emotional outbursts rule over truth. But these only work because of our personal issues that war within us (James 1:14).
We need to ask ourselves, why do we love to argue? Basically, it’s pride. This is especially true if we’re contrarian by nature. I must confess that I tend to be this way myself, so I must be careful not to be dragged too far into this ego trap.
Again, there’s two types of people who resist any meaningful discussion about the truth. The first type just deflects by saying, “that’s just your truth”; the second type wants to trap you with their clever “gotcha’s.” The latter are the Internet trolls, but understand that neither group wants to know the truth, so you’re probably wasting your time there.
The person we’re looking for is someone who is honestly searching for the truth and, with a little coaxing, will be honest with themselves, which will help them discover it.
26This will cause them to rediscover themselves and escape from the snare of Satan who caught them in his trap so that they would carry out his purposes. (2 Tim.2:26 TPT*)
The reason the truth is so important is because it clarifies our lives and positively energizes it with forward momentum. To know the truth is to be made free (John 8:32). This is not the freedom of a pardoned criminal but of a new creation (2 Cor.5:17-21).
But the enemy’s scheme is to confuse us and keep us blind to, or make us forget, our true identity. As Curry Blake (John G. Lake Ministries) observed: “Both heaven and hell know who you are; they just want to know if you know who you are.” The enemy of our soul blinds us by keeping us locked in our woundedness, defending this fortress because of pride. Combativeness in one way he uses to distract us from ever finding out who we really are, because once you find out who you really are, he’s lost his hold over you. This is because the only power he ever had over you is what you gave him by permission. And we give him permission because of the lies we believe about ourselves, God, and others.
So, Paul’s advice to Timothy is good advice for us. Don’t waste your time with contentious people who don’t want to know the truth. But, with the rest, our posture should be one of gentleness and grace. This posture keeps the discussion from escalating into a heated argument, which only hardens the other person’s position and stops them from listening.
Understand the difference between someone who is doggedly stubborn and one who is just immature. Be patient with the latter. Walk with them in meekness, which is power under control. Just because we may know something doesn’t mean we should bulldoze them over with it.
Good communication means seeking to understand what the other person is saying and helping them understand what you’re saying. If you just want to prove you’re right, you’re wasting your time. The goal is to facilitate an environment where Holy Spirit can work so they’ll be enlightened to the truth and discover, or rediscover, their true selves, and escape the snare of the evil one.
31-32 Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” (John 8:31-32 MSG)